Allergan, Fighting Off Valeant, Discussing Merger With Another Firm

(Los Angeles Times/MCT) -

Botox maker Allergan Inc. said it’s discussing a merger with an unnamed firm as it battles a hostile takeover by Valeant Pharmaceuticals.

For six months, Irvine, Calif.-based Allergan has fought off an unsolicited takeover bid from Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc., and the battle could be decided in a crucial December shareholder vote.

On Thursday, Allergan said that another company has approached it regarding a merger.

“Discussions between us and that party have continued and may lead to negotiations,” Allergan said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

It did not disclose the suitor.

However, Bloomberg reported that Allergan is actively discussing a potential deal with Actavis Inc., citing unnamed sources.

The Irish pharmaceutical company has widely been reported as having an interest in Allergan.

An Actavis spokesman declined to comment, but on Wednesday, CEO Brent Saunders told Bloomberg: “Allergan is a terrific company with great assets and a great team of people.”

Allergan has rejected Valeant’s proposals, including the Canadian firm’s most recent cash and stock offer now valued at more than $54 billion.

Valeant has argued Allergan is bloated and would benefit from its ownership. Allergan has countered that Valeant’s plan to slash research-and-development spending is shortsighted, and rejected its offer as too low.

The issue could be decided Dec. 18 at a special meeting of Allergan shareholders, who will be asked to remove a majority of Allergan’s board and replace them with directors likely to approve a sale to Valeant.

On Thursday, Allergan shares closed up $1.08 at $197.40.